guest column:Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje
My mind cannot stop spiralling out of control due to this story that has hit the headlines — Marry, Marry, Marry! It got me thinking about a story that intrigues me from the Bible. The story is about a woman caught in adultery and people brought her to Jesus for what they deemed would be a final delivery of justice.
Jesus instead, bends down and starts writing in the sand until one by one the accusers left, then Jesus asks the woman where her accusers had gone to before He says to her, she could go and sin no more. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not some Bible bashing gimmick at all, it is me being inspired by a story that I hear a lot and it hits me each time with a new insight, lesson and point of reflection.
What gets my attention each time with this story are the aspects on realisation, forgiveness and our struggles as humans. Today Marry is our point of exploration as she inspired the thought of this woman “caught” in adultery!
The fallen human and the dysfunctional system
We each have the capacity to sin, wrong, offend, blunder, call it whatever you may. However, I believe that at the heart of how we are socialised and eventually become is the very strong influence that comes from our systems of guidance, operation and even socialisation.
The system(s) usually give men power, control, access and the highest privilege ever imagined!
Zimbabwe generally has a toxic system, whatever system you may define it to be — church, home, culture, governance, we seem to thrive on abuse, fear, intimidation, aggression and oppression.
Those who brave it enough to speak against the system or even dare to have a differing opinion are also faced with the wrath of the very system that they attempt to transform.
For society to function better in Zimbabwe, we each need to rethink about how we are contributing to feeding this monster of a system we already have at our disposal and then we unlearn toxic tendencies so we each contribute to rebuilding a newer way of being.
Now, Marry is not a saint, she has had her fair share of feasting from her own fallenness and that’s many of us represented by Marry in our very own contexts and narratives. I am not excusing her. However, the very same system that demands women to be stoned to death for committing adultery, should drag the man with whom the woman caught in adultery was supposedly with.
Surely, the woman was not committing adultery by herself — where was the man? The same applies with this Marry drama, she was not alone in whatever sin she committed. Yes, we assumed she enjoyed but that’s a story for another day: we do anticipate what it must be like loving a man of the highest military power — for now we focus on a system that promotes abuse of some over others. The classical Animal Farm notion by George Owen that some animals are more equal than others.
The system of governance should not be open to abuse by those who hold the echelons of power to use at will. We refuse to have a constitution without constitutionalism — hell no to having the rule by law and not the rule of law!
If we commit adultery, not only the woman should be brought to book because she was not the only one enjoying the orgasmic act — it was a mutually benefiting act hence all of us should be brought to book!
It is rather hypocritical to stand there with a stone, ready to stone Marry to death when you and I could have been the ones who received money for the Inn booking, treated the water they used to bath, provided the towels they used and even transportation. Systems should serve everyone with the same fairness.
This is a good moment for each of us to stop and reflect on how best we can contribute to making these systems work for all of us.
We know for sure and have seen from experience that the system of governance that defines Zimbabwe, uses the tactics of isolation and abuse at will.
It is right now that we stop and not celebrate because we know if it is not me or you today, tomorrow might be ours to mourn. Turn away with your stone and begin to make the system work — the woman caught in adultery is not our focus now lest we lose the plot!
Working against each other
What I find pretty intriguing about the story of the woman caught in adultery is the hullabaloo around the people who dragged the woman. Am sure some had been guilty of the same sin or worse, but it felt good to be holding those stones, so they throw them. It is exactly how each of us feel with Marry. Yes, she finally got what she deserved — how dare she gets married to a man way older than she is (really?), who is richer and how dare she slays or leaves her husband or is it the bleaching or drugs or whatever we choose to hurl at her at the present moment?
That is yours to deal with as you feast on deciding to finally throw the stone or walk away as those in the crowd did. The truth of the matter is that we are siding with the system — working together against each other.
Expending our energy on ensuring we feel good about carrying stones for stoning one who like us is a victim of the system whether we decide to think it or not. We do not have to like Marry or know her, she is her own mystery, but what we need is to stop perpetuating the same abuses the system that abuses us dishes out.
Zimbabweans, we need to learn to work with each other and unite against the system. If you did it on 17 November 2019 in such drunken haste, surely the same can be applied to transform the current systemic narratives!
Do you notice how people tend to come together against persecuting other people they deem to be in the wrong? That crowd wanting to stone the woman caught in adultery and now Zimbabweans against Marry?
What would happen if we decided to acknowledge that yes, we do not like, know or even understand what is happening with her story for that is the truth for most of us presently but instead, what if we decide we will use whatever opportunity we get to come together and work against a brutal system that is abusing each one of us at different levels. I mean no electricity, water, corruption, polarised media as we can clearly see in this case, women’s human rights abuses clearly like with Marry, clueless leaders — all this is more reason we should decide to come together and not against each other and work the system for the better.
Do you ever feel that rebuke of whoever has no sin should cast the first stone? Truth be told, we too would turn away one by one for we know that we too have fallen short in very many ways and would if given a slight chance — so how about we join hands for the betterment of our lives as we redefine the system and not keep focusing our energy on creating jokes, make judgments and all sorts? The same system that will try Marry needs to be a good and just system so that in the future if either you or me have to go through the same system for trail — it is fair and equitable.
Redefining our narratives
We each want to live a life that is wholesome and fulfilling and we need to hear that we are good people especially in our moments of weakness. Am sure that woman caught in adultery almost fainted with joy when she was told to go! That “go and sin no more” vibe is something we each seek especially on our worst days. So, how about you and I decide to make Zimbabwe a “go and sin no more” zone by standing up to an abusive system which preys on its very citizens and women. How about we get up and say no to a corrupt and abusive government that has seen us suffer on the absence of money in the banks, limited fuel, water, electricity and all other amenities? Honestly arguing about Marry’s arrest or freedom do not contribute to putting food on our tables but what does is us knowing that we live within a system that is just and fair.
A governance system that cares about what we eat, how and when — that is where we should choose to expend our energy — in seeing that we come together and call a spade a spade and say enough is enough, then demand that our rights be respected within a holistic system. We are sick and tired of such a rotten and plummeting status quo of governance. These childish games need to stop and should stop now.
It is a few days before Christmas, and we are still struggling to make ends meet and things seem to be heading south still. No, we are done, the system that governs us ought to promote our rights and meet our needs. Guess who can make that happen, you and me by deciding to come together in our tiny corners of this beautiful country, Zimbabwe and ensuring that we stand up, speak out and say we have had it with this poor system of governance. Let’s do this!